Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Where has this month gone? 

We live on Post, therefore Trick or Treating is a pretty big deal.  I don't know ... in all honesty, Halloween gets on my nerves on so many levels, but ... 

These are for my Momma and my Aunt.  I miss them and I know they miss their girls.  The ones of Patterson in the tree are a hoot!! She really thought she was going to fall ... our crazy Patterson:).  

and the infamous group picture on the front porch ... they were so done with photos by this point!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The First Step

Yesterday morning I drove my home-schooled 9th grader to Lansing High School so that she could take the PSAT.  It was early.  I was tired, felt rushed, and I was ever so anxious about leaving her at a school she'd never been to and where she knew no one.  All just so she could take a test two years before she actually needed to.  She, on the other hand, was calm, smiling and talked my ear off the entire 22 minute drive there. (In other words, her usual self!) To her it was as if it were half past 3 in the afternoon and we were on one of many familiar errands.

After dropping her off I felt a rush of unexpected emotions.  My sweet Hanson Ellis, my first born, had just taken the first step of the next step of her life ... and she did it with the same calm, steady confidence she has always possessed.  As I drove home, I wanted to ball my eyes out.  It really hit me at that moment that I have had the most amazing gift ever to have had the opportunity to teach her.  For a first generation homeschooling Momma, I really "got" ... without a doubt ... just how gracious God has been to us with that gift.  She still has the rest of high school to go, and that won't be a walk in the park for her, but I am starting to see the fruits of both of our labors.  It is pure sweetness.

I am in complete awe of my 14 year old.  She is so much fun to be around and I watch grow up.  I am excited to see the plans God has for her start to take form and unfold.  It really is a neat, neat time in her life, and as her Momma, in mine as well.

I give thanks to God for the graciousness He has showed us up to this point, and for the endurance He never ceases to provide.  And I rejoice at how her heart is continuing to grow in the Lord.

For all you mothers of little ones out there ... be encouraged and soak up the time you have with your little ones!  It really does go by all too fast.  Good days are always ahead, but the day you need to focus on is the day you are in right now.  I don't regret one minute of my time with Hanson Ellis.  I am so excited to see her grow, but also thankful I still have her under my roof for just a little longer.  The shift from her needing me to hold her hand to her needing me to let go of it is emotional :) but it also sure is sweet.

It is a neat thing to see your kids grow.  It really, really is.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


It rained constantly yesterday.  The rain and the wind took many of the beautiful leaves from the trees and with them covered the ground.  The sun came out today and dried the rain from them.  By late afternoon a steady flow of children with rakes filled the park across from the The House on Grant.

Yesterday Kate and Olivia took every opportunity to jump and hop and splash in every puddle they could find.  Today they jumped and ran and giggled at the crunching they heard under their feet.  Few things are far more glorious than hearing children laughing and giggling and simply enjoying the world their Heavenly Father created for them ... no matter what the conditions of the day.

Fort Leavenworth ... not what I thought it would be ... definitely harder challenges than I expected ... but I am learning so much and feeling more at home every single day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crossing the Street

In true FB form, my path has crossed with the friend of a friend in the FB world.  And I don't know how I obtained this great blessing, but I am truly thankful for the friendship of another amazing lady.  She has encouraged me to pick up my lens again.  As many of you might be, I am participating in the #FMSphotoaday  photo challenge.  I've never done one of these.  That should tell you how inspired I am by my new FB friend:).  (If you are in the Nashville area and need a photographer ... check her out at

Today was day 9 and the theme was RED.  I knew instantly what I wanted to photograph.  

So many images I take at The House on Grant are from my porch looking at the park across the street.  At this park there are a lot of big and wonderful trees.  About a week ago, however, I noticed one small tree that seemed to turn a beautiful deep red color overnight.  You can't help but being drawn to this tree.  It isn't anywhere near as big and grand as the other trees, but it is definitely the tree that gets all the attention.  Today when the other girls were busy with school and art class, I grabbed my sweet little one and my lens and crossed the street.  

Momma, I know you'll enjoy seeing these images.  I wish so much you could be here to walk through the park with us.  The girls and I think of you all the time.  We miss you and love you and pray for you daily.  We are hopeful God will grants us our requests and heal you completely. Next Fall we want you to come for a visit!!

I love the above image!! See what I mean about the red tree commanding attention?!

Monday, October 8, 2012

4 Months

Today was our four month anniversary at The House on Grant. 
Richard had today off.  I, therefore, had the luxury of spending over an hour cleaning out my closet and two chest of drawers and in the end finally, finally having my things organized.  You may not think that to be much of a luxury, but to a wife of a previously deployed soldier, it is a luxury that I know very well not to take for granted.

Yep, I felt pretty good about my little accomplishment!  That was one more thing I could check off my "to do" list.  Then I saw Kate this afternoon.  In the four months since we arrived here in KS, she's managed to make decorations for her room (which she thought were perfect on the first try), make friends with the kids on our street because, well, because they were the kids on our street:), and even schedule play-dates that are too frequent for me to count.  Now I know that the task before her is not quite as big as the task before me, but still, there is no denying that sometimes, many times, kids just get it right.  Kids have no time to put off living.  They somehow know, even without being told, that life is not to be second in line.  

Looking at the above snapshot I again feel the need to remind myself of a favorite verse of mine,

"This is the day that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it." 
Psalm 118:24

Friday, October 5, 2012

Where I Need to Be

Today I went with Olivia and her class on the infamous Fire Station Field Trip.  Surprisingly none of my five have ever been on one of these! It was a cool morning ... 47 degrees ... so we bundled up.  As we stood at the Fire House, I felt Olivia nudging up close to me.  My Olivia ... the unexpected pregnancy.  The pregnancy at the most inopportune time.  The pregnancy that made me feel miserable almost every single minute of every single day.  The newborn who just never seemed to be happy.  The one year old who still kept us holding our breath wondering if something would "set her off." I guess you could call her the difficult one, and at times I suppose I've called her that too.  But Olivia, she is my Olivia and I adore her.  She has been such an example of how God's plans are many times not mine, and they don't always seem that amazing at first, but they truly are perfect.  I am so thankful we have her.  She keeps us all on our toes and gives us the blessing of a little one for just a little bit longer.

Looking down at her nudging up to me I instantly grabbed my camera and captured the moment.  I know all too well how fleeting this moment, the moment of my child standing oh so close to me, will be.  It is a moment that is special to me and important to her.  She doesn't think about it.  She just does it.  She knows me better than any of you reading this blog ... she knows that I'm not always worthy of "the best Mom award" yet she knows that I am there for her.  She had a moment and she took advantage of it to just be near me and quiet.

While I am not perfect, I have a Heavenly Father who is.  Many times lately I've been so preoccupied with what I haven't had in my day to day, that I've missed the moments that I have had to just draw near to Him and be still and in His presence.

Praise to Him for the reminder of where I need to be.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Missing the Forrest for the Trees

See the above image? My soldier's the one getting ready to walk down the stairs.  I remember thinking that day how it always seems like forever when they are gone, but once they are off that plane it is just over ... just like that.  Funny how so quickly it all seems to just come to an end!

Tonight was the first night since his return to us, that he was gone again.  Just a quick day trip, so nothing major.

  While in the kitchen getting dinner ready after our early evening soccer practice, it hit me that there was absolutely no adjustment whatsoever to him being gone again.  We all just sort of knew how to adjust our routine and the night was pretty peaceful.  

I thought about that a while after all the girls went to bed and I was left alone in the quiet. 
And maybe, just maybe I am going to have to work a little harder on my heart to remember what the most important things are in my life.  Maybe, just maybe I've been a little too preoccupied lately with little details that really don't mean that much, but that can completely steal the joy away from what I care about most.  

Tonight Kate said when I turned out her light, "I wish Daddy was here to tell me goodnight."  
She was fine, not heartbroken at all, just matter of fact and honest.  
There is so much that I worry over about trying to make her life and her sister's lives as spectacular as can be, but when it all comes down to it, all she cares about is having her Daddy home to tell her goodnight.  She doesn't need him to make her life amazing ... she just needs him.  
She notices when he's home, and she notices when he's not.

Tonight I noticed that lately I've been so busy noticing all kinds of other trivial things around The House on Grant, that I've forgotten to notice ... to really soak in that a certain soldier comes home to it each night.  Not that I haven't appreciated him being here, but it has been so easily consuming trying to catch up on life missed, that the life I  have right now has lost a little value.

God is always working in our hearts, isn't He?! 
I am grateful that He uses such sweet little people to gently remind me of where my heart needs to be.

We are still really oh so blessed to have our soldier home.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Glimpse

It is definitely Fall here in Kansas.  The days have been nothing short of glorious temperature wise lately, and I have enjoyed every single moment of it.

This is our street.

And this is the girl who will single handedly be responsible for the squirrel's acorn shortage this winter.

To be honest, my favorite thing about Kansas is being outside.  The girls love it and I love it, too.  I don't know if it's just that we are not quite used to The House on Grant, or if too much of our heart was left at Sweet Birch Lane, but we are all so much happier when we are outside.  I am thankful God gave us a beautiful Post in which to breathe Him in.  I am thankful for wide sidewalks that little people can ride scooters and bikes and roller skates on.  I am thankful for big oak trees that produce a million or more acorns for my four year old's hands to gather up and bring inside.  (we have acorns in zip lock bags, in paper cups, under the sofa and even in our dryer) And I am thankful for long runs with my husband that take us by horse stables, train tracks (running alongside a moving train is really kinda fun) and on a gravel road that is sandwiched between a sunflower field and the Missouri River.  I love hearing the clock tower chime and little children counting up the hour.  Yes, Leavenworth is growing on us ...